Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter III. District Charter Preamble, Legislative Power, and Charter Amending Procedure.


§ 1–203.01. District charter preamble.

The charter for the District of Columbia set forth in subchapter IV of this chapter shall establish the means of governance of the District following its acceptance by a majority of the registered qualified electors of the District voting thereon in the charter referendum held with respect thereto.


(Dec. 24, 1973, 87 Stat. 784, Pub. L. 93-198, title III, § 301.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-203.

1973 Ed., § 1-123.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 2-551.


§ 1–203.02. Legislative power.

Except as provided in §§ 1-206.01 to 1-206.03, the legislative power of the District shall extend to all rightful subjects of legislation within the District consistent with the Constitution of the United States and the provisions of this chapter subject to all the restrictions and limitations imposed upon the states by the 10th section of the 1st article of the Constitution of the United States.


(Dec. 24, 1973, 87 Stat. 784, Pub. L. 93-198, title III, § 302.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-204.

1973 Ed., § 1-124.


§ 1–203.03. Charter amending procedure.

(a) The charter set forth in subchapter IV of this chapter (including any provision of law amended by such subchapter), except §§ 1-204.01(a) and 1-204.21(a), and part C of such subchapter, may be amended by an act passed by the Council and ratified by a majority of the registered qualified electors of the District voting in the referendum held for such ratification. The Chairman of the Council shall submit all such acts to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate on the day the Board of Elections and Ethics certifies that such act was ratified by a majority of the registered qualified electors voting thereon in such referendum.

(b) An amendment to the charter ratified by the registered electors shall take effect upon the expiration of the 35-calendar-day period (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, and days on which either House of Congress is not in session) following the date such amendment was submitted to the Congress, or upon the date prescribed by such amendment, whichever is later, unless during such 35-day period, there has been enacted into law a joint resolution, in accordance with the procedures specified in § 1-206.04, disapproving such amendment. In any case in which any such joint resolution disapproving such an amendment has, within such 35-day period, passed both Houses of Congress and has been transmitted to the President, such resolution, upon becoming law subsequent to the expiration of such 35-day period, shall be deemed to have repealed such amendment, as of the date such resolution becomes law.

(c) The Board of Elections and Ethics shall prescribe such rules as are necessary with respect to the distribution and signing of petitions and the holding of elections for ratifying amendments to subchapter IV of this chapter according to the procedures specified in subsection (a) of this section.

(d) The amending procedure provided in this section may not be used to enact any law or affect any law with respect to which the Council may not enact any act, resolution, or rule under the limitations specified in §§ 1-206.01 to 1-206.03.


(Dec. 24, 1973, 87 Stat. 784, Pub. L. 93-198, title III, § 303; Aug. 14, 1974, 88 Stat. 458, Pub. L. 93-376, title III, § 306(a); Oct. 12, 1984, 98 Stat. 1974, Pub. L. 98-473, § 131(b).)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 1-205.

1973 Ed., § 1-125.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 1-1163.36.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of § 202 of D.C. Law 18-160, see § 2 of Elected Attorney General Referendum Emergency Amendment Act of 2011 (D.C. Act 19-51, April 27, 2011, 58 DCR 3878).

Editor's Notes

Fiscal year: Section 131(n) of Pub. L. 98-473 provided that the provisions of this section shall be effective hereafter without limitation as to fiscal year, notwithstanding any other provision of the joint resolution.